Last May, fans of Harry’s Law were overjoyed when NBC decided to renew the David E. Kelley series for another season. Unfortunately, the ratings have been terrible this season and it will surely be cancelled soon. What happened?
Starring Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law revolves around a sarcastic attorney named Harriet Korn who opens a small law firm in a rundown shoe store in Cincinnati. She’s initially aided by a young attorney named Adam (Nate Corddry), a quirky assistant named Jenna (Brittany Snow), and a paralegal, Malcolm (Aml Ameen).
The show debuted last January to a 2.2 in the 18-49 demographic with 11.07 million viewers. The demo number’s not great but it was certainly a lot better than what the network had previously been getting in the Mondays at 10pm timeslot. The show’s total viewership was impressive however and, when you have poor numbers like NBC, older-skewing viewership is better than nothing. The ratings for Harry’s Law began to dwindle down pretty quickly and the show ended the season with a 1.4 demo rating and 7.75 million.
The show was on the bubble for renewal and, on one of the other big networks, the law drama surely would have been cancelled. But NBC had few truly successful shows to renew so they brought Harry’s Law back for a second season.
A few months later, it was announced that the show’s cast was undergoing some big changes. Snow and Ameen were replaced by Mark Valley and Karen Olivo, Christopher McDonald became a regular, and the shoe store was abandoned in lieu of a more standard office.
Many fans liked the old characters and quirky setting and expressed their displeasure with the changes before season two even began airing. When the show returned, it was to a new series low; a 1.2 in the demo and 7.5 million viewers. The most recent episode fell to an even more pitiful 1.1 rating with 7.3 million.
So, was NBC trying to sabotage Harry’s Law? No, of course not but they had to do something. Last season’s ratings weren’t good enough to keep the show on the air so producers and the network took a chance on making changes (not uncommon for a Kelley show) to hopefully attract more viewers. The gamble didn’t pay off and they ended up alienating some of the few viewers that they had.
Harry’s Law is currently averaging a 1.2 rating in the coveted demo and 7.85 million viewers. It’s the second-lowest scripted series on the network, performing just a bit better than Chuck on Friday nights. That show is ending it’s run after a 13 episode season and it looks certain that Harry’s Law will be cancelled after this season.
A few weeks back, NBC ordered a half dozen more scripts for Harry’s Law but, with these kinds of ratings, it’s very hard to imagine that they’ll ever be produced. If NBC’s mid-season replacement series tank, NBC could conceivably put some more episodes into production but that seems like a remote possibility at best.
Either way, Harry’s law firm is surely going to be closing its doors for good sometime this season.
What do you think? Did the season two changes ruin the show? Should NBC make more changes or should it just be cancelled already?
Image courtesy NBC.